Whether you are just launching your own venture or have been in business for several years, having a strong marketing presence is crucial to build awareness and create a pipeline of qualified leads that turn into sales. This is more important than ever, as 41% of small businesses say they have seen either negative or no growth over the past year.
For small businesses, getting that boost can be challenging due to a lack of time, labor shortages and minimal budgets. If you don’t already have one, develop a marketing plan and include these tactics to market and promote your business.
Four cost-effective marketing strategies to help you strengthen sales and build loyal customers
Leverage social media
Since many small businesses tend to be community-oriented and individual-focused, they can thrive when they incorporate organic and paid social media strategies. For example, paid ads on Facebook can target customers within a specific radius of your business for a fraction of the cost of traditional ads. Social channels are also the perfect space to announce giveaways, events and promotions and invite your customers to share photos and stories of how they are engaging with your product.
Small local businesses often team up to help promote one another as part of a larger neighborhood event, which adds even more visibility and expands your audience base.
The key to using social media successfully is time and consistency. It is recommended to post valuable content several times a week while incorporating social brand guidelines to ensure that your brand’s personality is reflected in the copy and images of every post. If no one on your team is social media savvy, reach out to local colleges to find a marketing student looking for a social media internship and experience. If it’s within your budget, seek help from an advertising agency that specializes in digital marketing, including social media.
Publicize to add trust and credibility
There’s an old saying that goes, “Advertising is what you pay for, but publicity is what you pray for.” Small business owners who know how to effectively garner media coverage know the truth of that adage. Whether it’s a high-profile story in the local newspaper or TV coverage of an event your business is hosting, these broadcasted stories are 90% more effective than advertising when it comes to influencing consumers to take action.
Today’s consumers are exposed to more advertising content than ever, but they tend to not trust all of it. However, PR content provides authentic messaging that lends credibility. Business owners can start building PR contact lists by searching for local reporters on various media websites. The next step is to send emails to relevant reporters with key event details. It’s important to be responsive and follow up in a timely manner when a reporter reaches out to cover a story about your business.
Build a website that works
An effective, functional, eye-catching website serves as the anchor to your small business’s marketing efforts, making it easier for customers to find you. Websites also establish credibility, as 84% of U.S. consumers say they trust business with websites over those with just a social media presence. Platforms like WordPress offer design templates for businesses on a budget, making website development accessible for users of all skill sets.
The key to creating a traffic-driving website is to map out your customer’s journey to purchasing your product or service. Ask yourself: What are their immediate needs? Is your website addressing them promptly? It often makes sense to hire an expert to help build and maintain your site. Be sure to check the Better Business Bureau before making a final decision.
Boost engagement with blogging
Some entrepreneurs feel that blogging isn’t worth the time investment, especially with all the other things they must do to keep their business afloat. However, blogging is a relatively easy, cost-effective way to enhance your marketing strategy. Companies that blog regularly produce an average of 57% more leads than businesses who don’t blog. Writing and publishing blogs that are around 400 words long and provide fresh insight to customers are the most successful.
With editorial calendar planning, small businesses can have topics to run blogs for months. Not sure what topics to cover? Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to find common keyword phrases customers use to search for your business. Including them in your blog will help elevate your SEO (search engine optimization) as search engines “scrape” sites with these search queries.
In addition to a smart marketing strategy, your small business needs smart protection. Learn more about business coverage by reaching out to your local Rural Mutual agent.
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